NASS Renovation: NCP berates NASS, APC administration
By Nsikan Ikpe
The National Conscience Party, NCP has described the attempt by the National Assembly, NASS to undertake a renovation of its premises with a whooping N37 billion as insensitive and called for a halt to the plan.
In a statement titled, ‘THINGS FALL APART THE CENTRE CANNOT BE HOLD THE BUHARI’S ANTI CORRUPTION CRUSADE CAMPAGN HAS COLLAPSED,’ the group lamented the sad turn of events in the country in many respects and called for urgent action to redress them.
Full text of the statement signed by its Chairman and Publicity and Publications Director in Lagos State, Comrades Fatai Ibu-Owo and Sonaike Sakiru Sowunmi, reads:
‘Something is wrong somewhere, the Buhari we know cannot or will not in a normal sense approve this huge amount for the mere renovation of the National Assembly. It seems a cabal in the National Assembly is using voodoo to control the brain of the president.
The insensitivity of the Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration to the alarming economic downturn, extreme poverty, hunger, decayed infrastructure and security challenges faced by Nigerians shows how corrupt the current executive and legislative alliance is, more so with the statement made by the Senate President that any bills from the presidency shall be passed by the National Assembly almost without censure.
The plan to spend 37 Billion Naira on repairing just one building at a time when key infrastructures in the country are crying for face lift (like hospitals, roads, industries, power, water, and schools across the country which remain in terrible shape and which has infuriated many Nigerians) is insensitive. It is also questionable how much would be required to build a new National Assembly if mere repairs cost that much.
In contrast, while the National Assembly votes that much for its own building; all that is earmarked by the government for capital projects by the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) – the agency saddled with repairing broken federal roads across Nigeria is N36.6 billion. This is despite the fact that most of our roads are broken down and require attention. In perspective then, the government is poised to spend more on renewing the national assembly complex in Abuja than to repair federal roads across the nation.
Also, the money for the renovation of the parliament building is not part of N128 billion voted for the National Assembly next year as the N37 billion is tucked under the capital spending of the Federal Capital Development Administration (FCDA). The capital expenditure for the FCDA is =N=62.4 billion, meaning more than half of the money that should address Abuja’s deplorable infrastructure will go to fixing only the National Assembly.
In 2013, the Federal Executive Council approved a contract of N40.2 billion for the construction of phase III, Part III of the National Assembly. Furthermore, in the 2017 National Assembly budget, N1.25 billion was budgeted for the purchase of security equipment by the senate. Apart from this, N440 million was allocated for the same purpose under capital expenditure for the National Assembly Office. Now it has seemingly become an annual ritual to be spending questionable huge amounts of money on the National Assembly.
It is the opinion of the National Conscience Party (NCP) Lagos State Chapter that such a huge amount be diverted to the health sector, education sector, provision of better roads, social amenities and other facilities citizens can benefit from.
With 37 Billion Naira, seven (7) textile industries can be built across the country. Each of these industries will cost a sum of five Billion Naira (N5, 000,000,000) which can employ nothing less than thirty five thousand (35,000) youths. Aside this, more farmers will grow cotton, spinning industries will spring up, and the seeds from the cotton planted will produce edible oil for consumption in Nigeria and the outside world. The GDP of the country will increase geometrically while farmers will employ more hands. The effect of this will help control unemployment, insecurity and youthful exuberance.
The National Conscience Party (NCP) Lagos State therefore calls for a total revocation of the approved amount for the renovation which is ill-timed and insensitive on the part of the government.’